Hopkins claims sixth LMS victory of the season
BY WALT AMACKER
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published Sunday, August 26, 2007

FRIDAY - AUGUST 24, 2007
SOUTHSIDE SPEEDWAY
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Chris Hopkins had his head in the right place Friday night at Southside Speedway, driving his Late Model Sportsman car to his sixth win of the year. And it came on the heels of a difficult situation he had to deal with from three weeks ago.

Plus, Elvis was in the house.

The Midlothian track brought in an Elvis impersonator for the amusement of the crowd of 1,800, and the glint from his rhinestone suit as fans snapped pictures of The King provided almost as many sparks as the cars on the track.

In the last LMS action at the track three weeks ago, there were triple races for the class in which Hopkins competes. In the first race, he wrecked his primary car and finished 12th. He went to his backup car for the final two races, running in the top three in the second and winning the third.

But his backup car failed technical inspection, and he was disqualified for the last two races.

"I really didn't know if I wanted to come back out here or not after that," Hopkins said. "I didn't even look at a car for two weeks. To lose on the track is one thing, but to lose in the tech shed . . . that's something else.

"But, a rule is a rule, and I've got to live by them just like everybody else. And after thinking about all the people that have helped me get here, I knew I couldn't give up on them. And I wasn't going to give up on myself."

Hopkins started on the inside pole following the redraw of the top six qualifiers. He eased into the lead on Lap 2 and was never headed.

Part of his fortune came from a slick track on which 21 cars started and only nine finished.

"The heat and humidity made the surface hard to handle," Hopkins said. "I was fortunate to be out front and stayed away from most of the accidents."

Speaking of the accidents, more were self-inflicted by drivers losing control on the slippery surface than by running into each other.

"I thought about making some adjustments on my car after practicing because of the track surface, but decided not to," Hopkins said. It proved to be a wise decision.

Veteran driver Bugs Hairfield gave Hopkins a run for his money for most of the race but fell out of the running with six laps left with mechanical trouble.

Ray Ashworth and points leader Chris Dodson also avoided the accidents and finished second and third.

Michael Moore won the 30-lap U-CAR race, Cameron Patrick took the 25-lap Legends event, and James Loving finished first in the 50-lap Street Stock race.

Contact Walt Amacker at (804) 649-6554 or wamacker@timesdispatch.com.

Results

Late Model Sportsman (100 laps): 1. Chris Hopkins; 2. Ray Ashworth; 3. Chris Dodson; 4. Brandon Hendrick; 5. Greg Fernandez; 6. Wayne McGee; 7. John Drudge; 8. Rob Jenkins; 9. Jason Pittman; 10. Bugs Hairfield; 11. Steve Zuskin; 12. Roy Hendrick; 13. Bubba Hubbard; 14. Shayne Lockhart; 15. Russ Ellis; 16. John Eversole; 17. George Pillsbury; 18. Chris Mueller; 19. Greg Holt; 20. J.B. Poates; 21. Allen Marshall

U-Car (30 laps): 1. Michael Moore; 2. Jody Young; 3. Josh Bruce; 4. Mike Shiflett; 5. Derrick Schnarrs; 6. Lee Bradbury; 7. Robbie Hinchey; 8. Dwayne Bryant; 9. Billy Enroughty; 10. Donnie Johnson; 11. Brian Kotasek; 12. Mark Richards; 13. Joshua Thomas; 14. Wayne Cole; 15. Steve Thomason; 16. Chris Thomason; 17. Stuart Willis; 18. Corey Lawrence; 19. Damon Fender; 20. Lauren Edgerton; 21. Lindsay Bryant; 22. Jonathan Chandler; 23. Joey Abbott; 24. Tabatha Lipford; 25. Scott Rainey

Legends (25 laps): 1. Cameron Patrick; 2. Rett Causey; 3. Casey Wyatt; 4. Sparky West; 5. Scotty Edwards; 6. Michael Edwards; 7. Robert French; 8. Scott Henderson; 9. Kevin Yeatts

Street Stock (50 laps): 1. James Loving; 2. Kevin Brown; 3. Timothy Tiblis; 4. James Groome; 5. Melvin Brown; 6. Wayne Groome; 7. Kevin Lee; 8. Michael Sutphin; 9. Nicholas Hemesath; 10. Chris Bryant; 11. Brad Diggs; 12. Brian Smith; 13. John Kantzler; 14. Joe Henderson; 15. John Foster; 16. Sean Cook; 17. Ray Lynn; 18. John Ryland; 19. O.K. Wilson; 20. Corey Barger; 21. Patrick Scheneuk; 22. Mike Harris; 23. Ryan Hudson; 24. Wesley Davis; 25. Phil Galluzzo; 26. Michael Edward; 27. Bobby Corbitt; 28. Ronnie Hixson; 29. Alex Ayers; 30. Jeff Arnett; 31. Alec Cumbie